Kurdish groups leaving Syria's Manbij area - Erdogan


As part of the joint US-Turkey deal to resolve the planned Turkish invasion of Manbij, US and Turkish military forces have carried out a coordinated series of patrols near the city.

"In accordance with the Manbij Roadmap and Manbij Security Principles, coordinated independent patrol activities by Turkish and USA forces began June 18, along the demarcation line north of Manbij", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told Anadolu Agency.

Earlier in June, Turkey and the US reached an agreement for the implementation of a roadmap that envisages the gradual withdrawal of the USA -allied Kurdish militia from the town.

Local officials in Manbij have denied reports that Turkish troops have entered the city, insisting they have not crossed the demarcation line.

The Turkish Foreign Minister told reporters on Monday in the southern province of Antalya that Manbij would be cleared of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) "as soon as possible", according to a Reuters report.

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The head of the militia controlling the town, the Manbij Military Council, confirmed Turkish troops had begun patrols.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced on 16 June that the implementation of the road map agreed upon by Washington and Ankara for the YPG leaving Manbij would take 90 days.

Manbij has been controlled by the YPG, the United States main ally against Daesh, since 2016.

Earlier this month Turkey and the United States endorsed a tentative deal to overcome months of dispute over the town, in which the YPG would withdraw from Manbij and Turkish and us forces would jointly maintain security and stability there.